Prolonged Antibiotic Treatment Offers No Relief For Lasting Lyme Symptoms
If you are new to my page, I have a passion for talking about this topic because I’m a survivor of Lyme Disease. I’m thankful that it’s finally making its way into the spotlight because so many people, more than we know, suffer with it- and sometimes for decades.
Often times, after years and years of courses of antibiotics, people remain exhausted, frustrated, in pain, sleepless and foggy-headed. It’s hard to go for a couple of days without good, deep sleep. Can you imagine years? In the last decade and a half, there’s been much frustration between the medical community and patient groups over how to treat people for a disease whose: tests are poor, have inconsistent symptoms, and where patients sometimes don’t get better.
Even though the National Institutes of Health and the Infectious Disease Society of America do not believe that prolonged antibiotic use helps, some doctors are still recommending it to their patients. But on March 31st, 2016, a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine came out in support against long-term antibiotic treatment.
From the NPR article:
“Researchers in the Netherlands randomly assigned 281 people with persistent symptoms who had been diagnosed with Lyme disease to three groups. First, though, all the people were treated with antibiotics for two weeks. Then, a third got a placebo, a third got one kind of antibiotic and the remaining third got different antibiotics for a period of three months.
At the end of the trial, no group of patients did better than the other. “They were not helped by prolonged antibiotic treatment,” says Dr. Bart-Jan Kullberg, a senior author on the study and an infectious disease researcher at Radboud University in the Netherlands.”
However, the study is a hard pill for some to swallow. Dr. Raphael Stricker, a board member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society- a group that advocates long-term antibiotics use- feels the study was lousy. Even though there have been four other clinical trials (funded by the NIH) that have all come to the same conclusion, Stricker feels the studies don’t test enough people, don’t use a sufficiently aggressive antibiotic regimen, and don’t continue the therapy long enough to eradicate Borrellia infections that may be persistent or hidden. Ultimately, he’s afraid that the study is going to be misinterpreted as more proof that treatment for Lyme sufferers doesn’t exist.
But Dr. Paul Auwwerter, an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, worries that over use of antibiotics (which is a persistent problem in the US) raises the risk of developing antibiotic resistance in bacteria and other infections in individual patients. He says the reason patients are still sick is, “…complicated, and treatment shouldn’t involve antibiotics for months or years. It’s unnerving to both physicians and patients because nobody likes having something that we don’t understand.” He says more antibiotics just represent false hope.
Lyme is more complicated than not, but there is help. I overcame Lyme and would love to give you my free ebook- click here and I’ll send it to you. Even though doctors still don’t understand everything about Lyme or why antibiotics help some and not others, don’t give up. There is always hope.